The G20 anti-corruption ministers stressed the importance of the existing international framework to combat corruption, particularly the commitments and pledges stipulated in the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) agreement on combating bribery of foreign public officials in international commercial transactions and related documents.
It also stressed on the standards emanating from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), as all these instruments include a solid set of measures that countries must take to prevent and combat corruption, Money laundering operations, and other related serious economic crimes.
This came in the final Communique issued by the Anti-Corruption Ministerial Meeting of the G20, which was held Thursday 22/10/2020, chaired by the President of the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority Mr. Mazin bin Ibrahim Al-Kahmous, With the participation of the Minister of Justice, Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council Dr. Walid bin Mohammed Al-Samaani, and the Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mujeb, and the heads of delegations of the group’s member states, the participating countries, and the heads of regional and international organizations; in order to discuss the obligations entrusted to the G20 countries continuing to set an example in the global anti-corruption war.
“In a context of unprecedented global social and economic fragility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we stress the heightened threat from and serious impact of corruption on economic growth, sustainable development, quality investment and innovation, and trust between governments and citizens,” The communiqué said in a statement.
“We express our deepest sympathies for the tragic loss of lives and wider suffering resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The ministers affirmed their support in line with the G20 anti-corruption action plan for the years 2019-2021, and the high-level principles from the Kingdom’s presidency of the G20 during 2020, represented in developing and implementing national anti-corruption strategies, and employing information and communication technologies (ICT) to promote integrity in the public sector, and in Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).
They welcomed the Riyadh’s Initiative in order to establish a global anti-corruption Law Enforcement Authorities operational network, which complements the existing platforms and networks in the field of informal international cooperation, such as: the Global Law Enforcement Network (GLEN) and the Law Enforcement Officials Network (LEOs), which belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the INTERPOL.
They also welcomed the new approach in the G20 Anti-Corruption Accountability Report that provides an in-depth review of our collective progress on international cooperation and asset recovery, which will also identify potential future areas in these two areas.
They indicated the need for international cooperation in the investigations and prosecution of transnational corruption cases, including those cases in which the recovery of the proceeds of crime is required.
Therefore, we commit to strengthening investigation mechanisms for corruption cases, and for communication and exchange of experiences in this field, stressing that additional measures should be taken, when necessary; to prevent the misuse of legal entities, and other legal arrangements, in money laundering or terrorist financing.
It also includes when the crime of corruption is a predicate offense, pledging to prevent criminals from escaping justice, regardless of their position or social status, and to confront the processes of concealing the proceeds of transnational corruption, pursuing the criminalization of criminal corrupt acts and prosecution of the perpetrators, recovery of stolen assets that were confiscated, and returning them, whenever appropriate, and in a manner that does not conflict with local laws and international obligations.
They clarified that each of the G20 countries has a national law in force to criminalize bribery, including bribery of foreign public officials, and work to strengthen efforts aimed at preventing, detecting, investigating, and effectively prosecuting and penalizing the perpetrators, as well as committing to promoting the integrity and efficiency of the public and private sectors, and non-governmental organizations, and commitment to a multi-stakeholder approach in the fields of preventing and combating corruption, by strengthening partnerships with international organizations, individuals and groups outside the public sector, including civil society, non-governmental organizations, community organizations, media, and the private sector.
In the pursuit of moving forward, the ministers emphasized the follow-up of a comprehensive and integrated anti-corruption agenda, taking into account the basic principles of the rule of law and human rights, emphasizing on following a zero tolerance policy against corruption.